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GUNS Magazine January 2010 - Page 26

HANDLOADING • John Barsness • wOULD ELMER KEITH wANT MORE? Handloading the .44 Magnum. uring a conversation at a recent gun show one guy suggested D if former GUNS columnist Elmer Keith were still alive he’d be ecstatic about the recent revolver rounds far exceeding the power bringing out the .44 Magnum in 1955, his next project wasn’t something more powerful. Instead it was the .41 Magnum, a cartridge he used quite a bit in his later years—and he never asked any factory to bring out a more powerful elk round than the .338 Winchester Magnum, either. of Keith’s most famous accomplishment, the .44 Magnum. Maybe, maybe not. Students of Elmer Keith’s writings know he carefully cultivated his “big bore” image—but mostly with rifles. He’s often quoted as claiming the .270 Winchester is “a fine pest rifle,” and his preferred minimum for North American big game was a 33-caliber rifle with a bullet weighing at least 250 grains. Keith recognized handguns are sidearms. He’d never draw a revolver if a rifle was handy, and though he once guessed he’d taken 60-odd big game animals with a handgun all were “targets of opportunity.” Elmer Keith was a Montana and Idaho cowboy, raised back when game laws were often bent by circumstances such as hunger. His idea of a good revolver round was something powerful enough to make do when a rifle wasn’t around, rather than as a substitute for a .338 Winchester Magnum. Consequently I’m not sure Keith would be all that enamored of rounds such as the .454 Casull, much less the .480 Ruger and .500 Smith & Wesson. There’s some evidence he wasn’t crazy about revolver recoil. After he talked Remington and Smith & Wesson into LowMileageRevolvers An informal survey recently made of a local Montana gun stores found quite few lightly used .480 Ruger and .500 Smith & Wesson revolvers. At one store an observant clerk stated a majority of the “almost new” .480s and .500s It’spossibleElmerKeithmayhavestayedwiththe.44Magnumdespiterecentimprovementsin handgunpower. FASTCAP’SMYgRIP T he grip on the Taurus may look a little weird because it’s been augmented with MyGrip, a reusable, moldable plastic/rubber product originally developed for tool handles. After heating in hot water, it can be hand-molded onto about any surface, whether metal, wood or another synthetic, and will stay there, in the same form it’s molded, until reheated or peeled off. While warm it can be easily formed to your particular hand by gripping with a wet hand, then allowing the stuff to cool for a minute or two while continuing a firm grip. If you don’t get it just right on the first try, MyGrip can be heated up again slightly with a heat gun. It also doesn’t have to be applied to the whole grip; small pieces can be applied to the front or back of the grip, or anywhere else. Once it’s on, the surface can be heated lightly and a texture pad pressed into the surface to impart a pebbly grip. It takes some effort to peel off, but doesn’t harm what’s underneath at all, and can be re-used indefinitely. If you ever decide to sell the firearm, MyGrip can be peeled off and used on something else. It can also, of course, be used for about anything with a handle. My wife Eileen has MyGrip on a small cleaver with a handle that always felt too small in her hand. It works particularly well on hammers, taking much of the sting out of repeated nail-pounding, but the uses are only limited by imagination. I intend to try it as a cheekpiece on long guns and as stock bedding material for rifle actions and barrels. It comes in a variety of colors, including black, orange and even camo. FastCap’sMygripisamoldablerubberyou fittoyourhand.Itmightlookfunny,butit improvesthehandlingqualitiesofjustabout everythingitcomesintocontactwithfrom toolstogunstoknives. 26 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2010

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